Scientists at the Universities of Leeds and Sheffield have secured funding worth £1.26 million to investigate ways of decarbonising the steel industry in the UK within the next three decades.
Steel manufacturing is a high carbon process and the industry faces an uncertain future with the UK’s legal commitment for net zero emissions by 2050, unless it ends its dependence on carbon.
Every tonne that is manufactured creates around 1.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide, according to the World Steel Association.
The scientists will develop new approaches that blend technology and policy with the aim of eliminating the industry’s dependence on fossil fuels.
The grant is being provided by the Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS), which is funded by UK Research and Innovation.
Professor William Gale, an energy expert at Leeds and the project’s principal investigator said: “The reality is the steel industry in the UK has to decarbonise but this has to be done sensitively otherwise there is a risk the industry will relocate to where the rules on carbon are more lax.
“Our challenge is to bring about real change without eroding the wafer-thin margins on which the industry operates.
“Steel is an important material so we can’t just stop manufacturing it. This project will bring together a range of experts: from scientists and engineers involved in researching alternative methods of production or ways to recover it from scrap – to policy and business experts analysing the policy initiatives and incentives needed for this change.”